The Pittsburgh Steelers were a sneaky Super Bowl bet in the preseason, as they held +2100 odds on FanDuel Sportsbook to emerge as champions. Now, following the announcement that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, those odds have gotten significantly worse.
The Steelers are now +6000 to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, placing them in the range of teams like the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (both also +6000). Pittsburgh will turn to second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph, who made his NFL debut in relief of Roethlisberger against the Seahawks in Week 2. Rudolph completed 12-of-19 passes for 112 yards, two touchdowns and one pick.
The loss of Roethlisberger is a tough pill to swallow for the 0-2 Steelers, who are, as of Sunday, without all three members of their "Killer B's" trio of Big Ben, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. The offense will now be led by Rudolph, along with third-year star WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner, who also sustained a knee injury in the Week 2 loss that is being considered "not serious", according to a report from ESPN's Jeremey Fowler.
While most of the attention will be on the effect Roethlisberger's loss will have on the Steelers' offense, their defense has been arguably more problematic after losses to the Patriots and Seahawks to start the season. Pittsburgh has given up 61 points through two weeks, and will need to tighten up on defense now that its long-time starting quarterback will be gone for the year.
Rudolph performed admirably when thrust into action in Week 2, although his 5.9 yards per attempt leaves a lot to be desired. He does have a strong connection with wide receiver James Washington, Rudolph's college teammate at Oklahoma State, who will need to step up in the coming weeks since free-agent acquisition Donte Moncrief has been haunted by dropped balls in the early goings.
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